As currently constructed, is this defense good enough to carry the team to the Super Bowl?
Raj: I'm not going to lie, I'm very impressed with the defense. Some players who didn't step up last year (Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty, for example) have steppe up tremendously. Lets be honest, the Patriots were in the last two games because of stellar defensive plays. However, the Patriots have not played an elite team yet. That's why I am not sold on this defense to carry New England to a Super Bowl. If however, the defense performs the way it did these two weeks against teams like Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Denver, and Baltimore, then maybe you can consider this defense as one that might carry the Patriots to the Super Bowl. But we're still very far from that.
Jason: It's hard to say whether the defense is good enough. They have faced two rookie QBs through the first two weeks, so it's tough to draw any real conclusions from the outcome of those games. As a unit, they have looked encouraging, but not definitively awesome. But I can say this -- this is the best defense the Pats have fielded since the Super Bowl years. Considering they've been deep in the playoffs the past several years, that fact is significant.
Derek: If the offense were to show minimal to no improvement, could this defense carry the Patriots to a Super Bowl? Absolutely not. These are not the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. However, I think this defense is good enough to field a team similar to the 2001 Patriots, 2007 Giants, or 2011 Giants where the defense makes big plays and supports and offensive attack that isn't necessarily firing on all cylinders. By the end of the year, I expect the Patriots to be able to put up a decent amount of points week in and week out. If they are scoring in the mid-20's, then the Patriots certainly have a defense that could hold playoff teams in the low-20's or teens.